The Gorge is getting ready for an arts-fusion event to celebrate America’s resilience and “our sacred right to have fun,” on Sunday Aug. 13 with a program billed as “America the Beautiful — the Remix,” a music-poetry-dance extravaganza based on the theme of making America fun and beautiful again.
Excerpt from Coyote:
…. Coyote is stalking a mole, nose down, ears up.
We are old acquaintances, Coyote and I,
In that distant way of nameless neighbors
Who nod when passing.
Across the creek,
He-or-she turns round, Looks me directly in the eye, Then turns tail
and walks off.
After a few strides, Coyote stops, looks back, and says: “We lovers of freedom must stick together.”
Bands Trashcan Joe and Duet, poet Charles Jennings and friends, singer-songwriter Stephen Rogers, dancer Pink Lady Diane and performer Faith Jennings lead a parade of Northwest artists who create and perform a unique arts-fusion tribute to America, and her great democratic traditions.
Charles Jennings describes himself as a “public high-tech entrepreneur” with 25 years of experience, and, until recently, a closet poet. Two years ago, he started reading poetry publicly around Oregon and Washington — and last November he gave a reading at The Griffin House in Hood River.
“It went well. Several of my Gorge friends in attendance suggested I produce a bigger show in the Gorge this summer, a show with music, dance and poetry. I agreed, and went to work with a group of talented artists from Portland and the Gorge to create a show about … daring to make American fun again, while honoring the American traditions of democracy, liberty and justice for all,” Jennings said.
This unique show will premiere in an equally unique venue: The Nash Woods Amphitheater, 39 Nash Road, White Salmon, on Aug. 13, from 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets at Eventbrite.com. VIP packages are available, and proceeds benefit the Performing Arts Initiative.
“America the Beautiful” explores and celebrates the best of America, while not overlooking her faults. It remixes songs such as "Yankee Doodle" and "God Bless America," while also presenting spoken word poems and stories about contemporary American life, technology and politics.
“The first song in the show is ‘Singing In the Rain.’ Part of the lyric goes: ‘I'm laughing at clouds so dark above/The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love.’ A clear contradiction — and the one we embrace in this show,” Jennings said.
“Yes, these are trying, dangerous times. It’s important to recognize the dark clouds for what they are. But when the sun’s in your heart, and if you can keep laughing and having fun, good things happen.”
Poetry from Jennings will include a piece he wrote called “Coyote,” which stems from the regular coyote visits he gets at his home in rural Washington County.
“I encountered Coyote one day on my land, with developers building new houses all around us. We were both getting crowded, and I realized that a love of freedom was something Coyote and I had in common,” Jennings said.
The show organizers of “America the Beautiful — The Remix” invite concert goers to be inspired.
“Come to laugh, dance and sing. Come to honor the American tradition of liberty and justice for all.”